Welcome, all, again. And this regular greeting of mine is especially appropriate for this review, since we are revisiting the familiar franchise of Wagnaria!! But this new anime series is set in an entirely different location and introduces viewers to new staff with new situations. Fear not, however, because these lovely people are every bit as dysfunctional as their predecessors, particularly when placed together. I confess to wondering how this family restaurant chain stays in business. . .
Our protagonist this time around is Daisuke Higashida, a high school student who seeks part-time work to help with expenses (mainly his own, initially) after his father’s business fails. He attends a good high school with a college prep curriculum, and appears to be both serious and studious. Quickly surmising that his co-workers are the biggest difficulty at his new job, Higashida quietly begins addressing himself to their various personalities. His efforts meet likewise varied levels of success; still, he quickly establishes his own place within the staff pecking order. It just looks a lot like the bottom rung.
And what a crew he’s fallen in with! (Take that, English Comp!) Hana Miyakoshi is a fellow high school student who has worked her way to Floor Chief, managing the other servers and bullying the cooks and manager. Sayuri Muranushi is a server who doesn’t believe in ghosts or the supernatural, but who is nonetheless the only one who can see certain of her customers. Kisaki Kondou is a sarcastic and indolent college student who prefers talking to working, and smoking to talking. Meanwhile, Shiho Kamakura is a pampered airhead of a girl from a wealthy family. Her presence in Wagnaria seems linked to Yuuta Shindou, a male server whose father in deeply indebted to Kamakura’s father. It’s just hard to tell if she’s there to pursue him or to torment him. (Never mind, it’s both–but with added emphasis on the torment.) Two cooks and a manager round out the nucleus of a growing cast, but it’s the floor staff–and occasionally their customers–who steal the show!
Wagnaria!! has built brand recognition and, indeed, its entire franchise upon quirkiness: of characters, of situations, even of concept. The characters have changed this time, as has the setting, but the underlying theme of workplace camaraderie remains the same. And it’s just a good feeling when viewers are able to settle in with a familiar concept–this series is every bit the warm, funny show the shared title has taught us to expect. So show up for a little metaphorical comfort food–because heaven only knows if you’ll ever get your actual order around here!